Dean Raftopoulos, co-founder of New Hampshire-based Construction Marketing Group, wrote in a recent blog posting:
“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”—Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, the American icon who co-founded Apple, Inc. in 1976 and went on to create some of the world’s most coveted electronic devices, left a legacy at Apple and throughout the business world when he passed away in 2011. Since his death, many have found inspiration in their own professional endeavors by reflecting on his career through some of his most memorable business quotes.
Among these quotes, we found his thoughts on quality to be most applicable to a variety of businesses and industries, including CRG and its principals. As we pursue new clients and projects on behalf of our clients in the construction industry, here are some of the ways we focus on quality in the sales process.
- Don’t bid every project – We could spend all our efforts selling and marketing to the entire industry, only to be a commodity. Or, we can cultivate relationships with those who are a great fit for us and vice versa. Seek the quality projects that are ideal for your business model and the unique opportunities that offer value to you and your clients.
- Qualify Every Project – You can be anonymous and bid every single project that comes your way. Or, you can develop relationships and get to know your customer. Knowing their needs and showing them the value in doing business with you will increase your chances of winning the project significantly.
- Build Partnerships Before the Bid – Seek opportunities to build partnerships with clients who appreciate and value a higher level of quality and service, as opposed to marketing to clients blindly or only when a project is up for bid.
- Differentiate Yourself: Show potential clients what makes you uniquely valuable by highlighting your expertise and how that translates into benefits for the project.
Undoubtedly, Rafoopolous makes good points in this posting. But does the story need to be quantity OR quality (within reason) or should/can you have both?
For example, you might have one, two or three exceptional clients — lots of quality there — who you enjoy working with and generate the bulk of your business. But you may be restrained in your growth, and more seriously, if any of your current clients run into trouble, you will have serious business problems. This is especially the case if your clients are larger and more powerful than your organization. (I spend some of my voluntary spare time consoling publishers who had built advertising businesses based on truly successful Google program — but when the Googlebot turfs them, they end up with nothing, very quickly.)
You can also look at Jobs’ quote: “One home run is better than two doubles” — and ask, is that necessarily always the case, especially when a “near miss” home run usually ends up as caught ball — with quite often double-play “outs”. Focus can be great, but staking everything on a single outcome can also be highly risky.
Obviously, we should strive for excellence and concentrate our resources where the results will be the most effective. But before diving into the quality vs. quantity story too deeply, consider your own business and market circumstances. Sometimes the right answer for others may not be right for you.